Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Review: Adesso Wireless Media Center Keyboard

The fine folks over at Adesso were nice enough to send us out one of their new Wireless Media Center Keyboards to test out. So over the course of the last week or two we were busy putting this little multimedia keyboard to the test with some mixed reviews. Checkout our full review and you'll see exactly what we liked and didn't like about this nifty little multimedia keyboard.

Adesso Wireless Media Center Keyboard

First impressions:

Opening the box on any new toy is always the funnest part for me. You get the excitement of that first peek and your first chance to see if it actually looks as good in person as it does on your screen. For me this is where I was a bit disappointed.

I've never used an Adesso product so I was a bit uncertain of their overall quality and feel. When I opened the box to take the keyboard out right off my thought was this thing looks a little cheap. The media keys on the top are all squared boxes at full height and the multimedia keys to the left just look flat out generic. Since this is billed as a media center keyboard for me that would equate to use with HTPC's however I would want something a bit better looking sitting on my coffee table and with a $55-75 price tag for just the keyboard I was very unimpressed by its overall appearance.

I bought my Logitech MX 3200 combo for less than that and comparing the two side by side the MX 3200 is a clear winner when it comes to looks and overall features.


  • 2.4 GHz USB Wireless Interface
  • Wireless connectivity with 16 Channels and 65536 IDs per channel
  • 800 DPI optical trackball for easy navigation.
  • Range distance from receiver is 100 ft.
  • Quite tactile keys for smooth typing.
  • Easy to use Scroll Wheel with left and right click option.
  • Media Center Edition, Multimedia and Internet Hot Key controls.
  • Light weight compact design
  • (MCE) Media Center Edition Hot Keys
    • My TV
    • My Video
    • My Picture
    • My Music
    • Live TV
  • Multimedia Hot Keys
    • Channel Up/Down
    • Volume Up/Down
    • Mute
    • Previous Track
    • Next Track
    • Play/Pause/Stop/Forward/Rewind/Record
  • Internet Hot Keys
    • Internet Explorer
    • Close
    • Mail
  • Mouse Functions
    • Left Click
    • Right Click
    • Scroll Wheel
    • Laser Optical Trackball

The layout, how compact is to compact?

Adesso Wireless Media Center Keyboard

Having used several compact keyboards I'll say this; this one isn't as small as it could be but its still too small for my personal taste. The keys are just a little too cramped causing me to either create more typos or accidentally hit the caps lock (very annoying).

For sitting on the couch, as use as an HTPC keyboard the size and layout are just about perfect, as is the ergonomics of the under side. I only mention this as the curves on the bottom contour just about right for my lap and the placement of the trackball and multimedia keys feel just about perfect when its sitting there.

For use as anything but and HTPC or media center keyboard (I'm using it on my desk now and its a pain) I'd pass but it does have a good fit and feel and works very well for what it is intended to do.

The setup:

What this little keyboard lacks in looks and size it more than makes up for in easy of use. Its was all plug and play with the Windows 7 RC. I slapped the batteries in, plugged the USB receiver in and I was off and running with full hot key, scroll wheel and trackball functionality. That was honestly something I didn't expect since most of my multimedia keyboards including my Logitech MX 3200 have to have drivers for everything to work.

Connectivity was very good with very good extended coverage. I could use the keyboard throughout my entire house even using a PC at the opposite end of the house in the office that was behind a closed door. Making it possible to use a PC setup with a wireless media adapter from the other room or simply control a PC hidden off in another room.

Overall thoughts:

  • The good - For a media center keyboard I'd give the Adesso MCE a very positive rating. The compact size and built in mouse functions make it very useful for movie watching, searching music or pictures or just basic internet browsing. The extended range was a big positive as I had no issues running my PC from almost anywhere in my house.
  • The so so - One of the major sticking points for me was the appearance, I'd like to see a sleeker more stylish design. There is room for more hot keys along the top so why not utilize the space and add some program keys there to make life a little easier? Using the trackball and mouse functions for thins like word processing was overly annoying and forget trying to do cut/copy and pasting.
  • The not so good - I constantly ran into issues when typing. The small layout caused a few problems, especially when trying to blog and type things quickly but that was only a small problem. I had a rather odd input issue where after sitting unused for a few mins the first letter keyed wouldn't be typed. I also ran into this when typing spaces or using the enter key.


In my opinion the Adesso MCE would make a nice little HTPC keyboard, however with a $59.99 price tag at Newegg I don't think it would be my first choice. For me personally I'd rather go with a full size mulitmedia keyboard that has a more stylish design. However for someone wanting a comapct design with very good extended range then this might be the keyboard for you and I'm sure it will function well. As an overall rating I'd have to give it a 2.25 out of 5.

Where to buy:

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